COLOMBO: Upto 50 Tamil passengers onboard a UK Border Agency flight face the risk of being tortured on their return to Sri Lanka, human rights organisations have warned.
The flight departure comes in the wake of the new evidence indicating that Sri Lankan security services mistreated passengers, The Guardian reports.
The activist group, Tamils Against Genocide, has earlier lodged a petition in the High Court trying to halt the flight departure claiming the UK government has failed to review its deportations policy amid new torture allegations. The UK Border Agency has so far carried out two large-scale deportations to Sri Lanka despite Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch concern over passengers' security.
The United Nations' Committee Against Torture had earlier said it was "seriously concerned about the continued and consistent allegations of widespread use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".
A London-based NGO, Freedom From Torture claimed that it had evidence to indicate that prisoners in Sri Lanka were regularly mistreated even after the end of civil war.
It had documented a torture case involving a Sri Lankan national, Rohan, who claimed that he was detained at Colombo airport, beaten and his skin burned with heated metal.
The UK Border Agency however, defended itself by saying that it deports people only "when we are satisfied the individual has no international protection needs", and cites a the European Court of Human Rights ruling that only few Tamil asylum seekers need security.
The agency is also circulating a report, which quotes senior Sri Lankan intelligence officials, as saying, Tamil detainees are inflicting wounds upon themselves to support later asylum claims.
Colombo has also slammed the torture allegations as "unsubstantiated".